Canadian Armed Forces personnel working with British forces in Sierra Leone
December 30, 2014
OTTAWA — In support of the Government of Canada’s response to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and following an acclimatization period, 37 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) health care and support staff commenced operations today in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone.
CAF military doctors nurses, medics and support staff are operating at the UK’s Kerry Town Treatment Unit (KTTU). Canadians are working alongside their British counterparts in providing essential medical care to local and international health care workers.
While providing important critical care to patients in West Africa, CAF members will wear protective equipment and adhere to stringent safety protocols designed to mitigate their personal risk.
· The CAF mission, Operation SIRONA, is augmenting the UK’s Operation GRITROCK, at the KTTU in Sierra Leone and will remain until governance of the treatment facility can be transferred to non-governmental organizations.
· CAF personnel deploying to Sierra Leone are well prepared for their mission. Before deploying to West Africa, CAF members completed comprehensive training at the state-of-the-art British Army Medical Services Training Centre in Strensall, UK, alongside their British military counterparts.
· The command and support staff within Canada’s task force will deploy for up to six months. The Canadian military health care personnel will be rotated every two months during the deployment.
· To date, the Government of Canada has committed more than $113.4 million to support health, humanitarian and security interventions to address the spread of Ebola, and has offered in kind support and donations of the Canadian Ebola vaccine.
· Canada has been providing laboratory support in Sierra Leone since June 2014. Rotating teams of technicians operate two laboratories, one providing rapid diagnostic support to local healthcare workers, and the other working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to monitor the effectiveness of infection prevention procedures.
· The federal government has donated over $2.5 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) to the World Health Organization, all of which has been delivered to West Africa, and continues to coordinate the ongoing delivery of PPE donated by Canadian provinces.
· On November 3, the Government of Canada committed to support further research and development of Ebola medical countermeasures – namely Canada’s Ebola vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatments. A number of Phase 1 clinical trials for Canada’s Ebola vaccine, VSV-EBOV, are underway domestically and internationally, and preliminary trial results are expected in the coming weeks.
“Canadian Armed Forces health care personnel are well trained and fully prepared to represent Canada in the fight against Ebola. Their diligent efforts in preparing for this critical mission highlight our commitment to support the global effort to contain the spread of Ebola in West Africa.”
The Honourable Robert Nicholson, PC, QC, MP for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence
“I am proud of our men and women as they begin combatting Ebola through the provision of vital treatment to health care workers in Sierra Leone. Their efforts will help alleviate human suffering, save lives, and serve as a reminder of the Canadian Armed Forces’ important and enduring role in helping people around the world.”
Lieutenant-General Jonathan Vance, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command
Health Canada – Ebola Virus Disease
Canada’s response to Ebola